Blog 30

It’s time for STAY!

Natasha May, Teaching Commons

This is my favourite time of year (for the past 4 years anyway).  It is time for STAY!  That is, the Supporting Teaching At York (STAY) Symposium.  I can’t believe it was over 4 years ago when a group of experienced graduate student TAs came together to take part in an accredited course, the Senior Teaching Assistant (STA) course, designed and facilitated by the Teaching Commons.  I was so lucky to be a part of this course and work closely with other graduate students to provide teaching support to our peers in the form of workshops and resources.  While brainstorming ways that we could reach more of our peers, some of my colleagues in the program asked whether we could host a daylong event, filled with teaching development sessions specifically for TAs with opportunities to network and share our teaching experiences with one another.  The Teaching Commons made this happen for us and has continued to run with the symposium, the first Friday in May every year.

As a graduate student I didn’t have enough opportunity to connect with peers, which is why I think the symposium is so powerful.  It gives graduate students an opportunity, for one day, to come together, collaborate and share their teaching experiences and connect with other graduate students from across York.  Often, graduate work, especially in the later years, becomes isolating and I really appreciated having an opportunity to connect with other graduate students who were going through all of the same experiences as me.

If you have been to the symposium before, you’ll know what I am talking about.  The excitement and engagement that fills the rooms and corridor where the symposium is held is magical, at least for those of us so engaged in teaching, but I also think this engagement in teaching that happens at the symposium is infectious as some of my STA alumni colleagues will share during the opening plenary of this year’s symposium.  If you haven’t been to the symposium, now is your chance!  There are still limited spaces available for the STAY Symposium on Friday May 6, 2016.  For more information and to register, please visit our website:

Although the target audience for the symposium is graduate students, everyone is welcome!  In particular, supervisors of graduate students (including research and teaching supervisors) are invited to stop by, support and celebrate their students and the valuable work that they do.

If you will be presenting at the Teaching In Focus (TIF) conference on May 19th and 20th and haven’t prepared a teaching conference session before, we encourage you to drop in to a STAY session to participate and see an example of a teaching conference session.  The facilitators of the STAY Symposium sessions are participants in the Senior Teaching Assistant (STA) Program, which is an accredited course that provides training and experience in designing and facilitating teaching development sessions.  So, the symposium sessions promise to be informative, engaging and fun!

In addition, if you are now simply just curious about the hype of this symposium for graduate students, please feel free to stop by the first floor of the Life Science Building on Friday May 6, 2016 to join in the celebration of graduate students and teaching.  Come and STAY!

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